Writing style and theft

Ray Bradbury died on June 5th, 2012 at 91 years old. He was one of the most amazing and prolific writers in the world. His books and stories spanned and defied nearly every genre, they were never purely this or that and I love them. He created magic with every page and his body of work resonates with readers long after they put the book down. At least I feel that way after reading his work.

I was reading a short book about Bradbury's life and I came across a fantastic quote. It was like a blunt force object struck me on the head. And I said aloud, "We share almost the same writing style!"

The quote was made in reference to his writing process for his most famous work and one of my favorite books: Fahrenheit 451.

Bradbury was asked how his novel differed from the short story version entitled "The Fireman."

"It's inflated. The texture of it grew. I retyped "The Fireman" and as I went along I added texture, line-by-line, character by character, idea by idea. It was a process I often go through with a poem. I don't revise, I re-type, and as I'm going through, re-typing the lines, things come to me, and my brain suggests, "Not that word, this one. Not that line, another line." It's an interior process growing outward through the words."

I pushed my writing passions aside for too long and dilly dallied with other hobbies and interests that held me back from pursuing my dream vocation. Yet, I consider myself a writer despite having not made a penny.

When you have a love and longing to put words down on the page, and you enhance it by taking the time and making the effort to improve your writing skills, you are a writer. When you constantly read, research, and digest the world around you in order to garner inspiration, you are a writer. Never mind that you're not on the New York Times Bestsellers list. Forget that Scholastic, Harper Collins, Doubleday, and other notable publishing houses aren't beating down your door.

If you find sheer enjoyment in simply putting pen to paper, fingers to keys, and leaving your heart wide open through words, you are a writer.

With the new year fast approaching I reflected on my writing goals and have eagerly started on my novel in progress again. Whether or not it gets finished or published is entirely up to me, so I hope that by mid-year I can have a solid first draft a professional editor can work with.

One of the biggest pieces of writing advice is I can give is to, WRITE WHAT YOU LOVE. And the other is something I learned fairly recently: STEAL LIKE AN ARTIST.

Say what?

I recommend…no…urge all writers and artists to invest in Austin Kleon's amazing book, "Steal like an artist: 10 things nobody told you about being creative." You will highly enjoy it, learn from it, and never regret reading it. And yes, this is a New York Times Best Seller, and deservedly so!

I wish I learned all these things way back in my 'fledgling' years. But even at the tender age of 32, I still feel like a teen, and I try to apply anything I learn with wide-open, youthful eyes and enthusiasm.